Analyze this

Being who I am I love to analyze myself.  My analysis is mainly of who I am or what is occurring at the present time, near past, or close future.  If I do think of the distant past, it is mainly terrible memories – when something bad happened – with a few happy moments intertwined.

My older sister has moved in with my parents to be the caregiver of my mother since my mother is wheelchair bound.  Being around my sister, I start remembering the past more.  I am not recalling specific events but mainly feelings of the time.  I am putting together pieces that help me realize why I was so quiet, why I holed myself up in the room most of the time, why I did not seek my parents help for most of my issues.  I was seen as the good child who didn’t need help.  I probably could have used more direction in life.  However, I turned out alright.

The more the family unit of my mom, dad, sister, and I are together the more I feel the past.  It is amazing.  It is not sad or happy.  It is just awareness and my eyes are wide open.

I’m back

I keep getting notifications on Facebook about how long it’s been since I’ve updated my page.  I update my page whenever I update my blog.  After much thought, I was contemplating stopping the blog altogether and posed that question on my page.  One individual said I should continue writing.  So, I decided to give it a go today and see where this takes me.

As I was setting up my computer to start this, my eight year old son comes up to sing me a song he had just written.  It included guitar solos.  After his private performance to me, he asked if I could take a video.  The song was over eight minutes long.  He is now in the process of writing a shorter song for me to video.  Earlier today, he was drawing evolutions of his own Pokémon.  He has so much creativity and motivation!  Of course, in my mind, I compared it to my lack of creativity and motivation.

The end of last week I decided to create a inspiration/vision board.  At first, my goal of the board was to promote weight loss/fitness and positivity.  As I added things, I realized other aspects of me I wanted to shine again:  being excited, being imaginative, remembering to give myself some breaks.  I had put it off for some time but had an opportunity to work on it when my husband took my son to the movies.  For about an hour and a half, I focused completely on the board (along with the background music of Hank von Hell’s solo album).  I was embarrassed to tell my husband what I was making because I knew he would find it silly. I found it kind of silly before I actually created it. The pic is cut-off in parts, but you get the gist:  vision board.

I’m off to listen to the new song and enjoy my day with my son.

 

Stress

Stress has been eating away at me this week.  I wrote a quick list of my stressors hoping it help with my stress level.  Yeah, no.

Currently, like many folks, a big stressor is financially-based.  We have had some health issues this year and even with medical and dental insurance we are spending oodles.  On top of that, we need a new fence.  The wrought iron fence that was here when we bought the house is incredibly rusted.  In some areas, you can push your finger through the rusted areas and disconnect the fence.  We have put down half the money and just waiting for our place in line.  A fence around an entire property that is not shared with neighbors is a huge expense.  Both of our neighbors are fence-less.  This morning our downstairs TV died and our dogs both getting a badly-needed grooming.  On top of that the pile of expenses add the amount it cost us to put my niece and her son up at a hotel for a week.  The money is all going out before it has a chance to come in.

My next stressor is my life schedule.  I love having a scheduled routine.  I love putting my plans down on calendars.  However, I do not like the back-to-back-to-back schedule that I will be facing in October (and probably through the end of the year).  Rob is having two procedures in October and, possibly, a third in December.  Besides the procedure dates, there will be post-op appointments.  In addition, I still have my post-op and x-ray appointments.  On top of that add Roger’s appointments at the orthodontist for an expander.  I just realized that we all need our flu shots too.  And, of course, we have Roger’s weekly OT, Swimming, Baseball, and Tutor.  He also has nightly homework that I need to help with.  I also signed up to be Room Mom Helper and trying to fit in volunteering at the school.  Finally, I have my full-time work schedule.  Just typing that all out stresses me out AND exhausts me!

My third stressor I listed under the category of FOOD.  Then, I decided to add a slash and put weight loss.  That reminds me that I am also trying to keep exercise and house cleaning in my schedule, as well as preparing dinner (Rob is usually the cook).  As my blog stated yesterday, food/eating has been a life-long stressor since I was called “tub of lard” in elementary school.  Kids are wonderful, eh?

My fourth stressor is work.  Work has been overwhelming lately.  I love my job and my colleagues.  I actually prefer when there are projects that are due.  However, returning a few weeks ago from my medical leave, I still have have back pain on and off.  My supervisor would understand my need for breaks still.  BUT I feel obligated to get the work done quickly and accurately.  That is just my thing.  I guess work is not the stressor but my expectation of myself at work.  This morning I woke with terrible pain between the shoulder blades.  This is an area that is known to flare up post-ACDF surgery.  I need to be kinder to myself re: work (and life).

I usually don’t unload as much as I did today.  My little sheet of paper lettered A-D with subheadings was just not doing the trick.  I am hoping getting this all out of me will release a teeny bit of the stress.  Re-reading this blog, I guess my only true stressor is my EXPECTATION of myself.

The Past Always Haunts You

I belong to a Health and Weight Loss Group for moms of children with autism.  Every week I post my weigh-in (as opposed to Weight Watchers where I have never lost weight).  This week I did not post my accountability weigh-in on Tuesday.  The scale said I had gained 3.5 pounds in one week.  I did not track my food properly and had Indian food for my husband’s birthday.  On Sunday, we had some alcohol, brie and crackers, pizza, veggies and hummus, as well as, Chocolate Overload cake.  I was embarrassed about my gain and was feeling pretty terrible about myself.  It’s so stupid to let the scale affect me that way, but it has for years.
Twenty five years ago I was anorexic and weighed, literally, half of my current weight.  I obsessed over food sometimes eating about 300 calories a day and exercising at least 2.5 hours a day.  That lasted for about a year.  As is pretty common with eating disorders, I then transitioned to bulimia for quite a number of years.  I ate a lot more in my binges, but probably retained the same amount of calories per day.  I still exercised a couple of hours each day.  My lowest weight was as a bulimic vs. anorexic.
I will never have a completely healthy relationship with food.  I think way too much about food every day.  I put way too much energy into my thoughts of food every day.  I either feel guilty about eating something I shouldn’t eat or eating too much or, on the flipside,  I’m too hungry from keeping within my calories.
If people are interested in my past eating disorder, please comment and I could expand on those very difficult years of my life.
They say the first step is admitting there is a problem.  I have admitted that for decades and the problem remains. It is not as bad as it was, but it is always there haunting my every thought.

Bip Zim Bop

Totally non-sensical title.  I didn’t want to put a title like: “Beyond Exhausted” for the umpteenth time or “Feeling the pain”.  But that is where I am at today.

When I went to bed last night, my back/body was in so much pain that I took Tylenol 3.  I have only a few left, so I must ration them!  I probably should have gone for the muscle relaxer since I awoke at the same pain level.  I am sure the pain is not helping my energy levels.  I am exhausted.  I have done my squats, arm exercises, and, currently, riding my bike.  I plan on jumping in the shower after this and am hoping that wakes me up some before Roger gets home from school.  I always need energy for that!

 

Fallen off

The past week or so I have fallen off the logging food/eating healthy cycle.  If I don’t log, it usually means I am eating things I’d rather not log!  Also, with the new work schedule and things popping up at Roger’s school, I have missed some of my exercise goals.  I know I cannot be perfect all the time but I know the exercise does help me mentally as well as give me more energy.  You may have realized I was not cycling as much due to the lack of blogging.  Again, I do realize that these posts do help my mind settle down a bit.

I know most people always start their diets back on a Monday.  I hate being that cliché but my husband’s 41st birthday is tomorrow.  That means a delicious dinner tonight.  Tomorrow, drinks and cake will be devoured.  Today and tomorrow I will log my exercise on MyFitnessPal but will go back to strictly logging my food on Monday, cliché and all.

One goal I have met is walking over 10,000 steps every day this week.  YAY for me!  Today I am not confident I will reach that goal since it’s pouring out but will try going up and down the stairs a bunch today.  I do have to clean up the house a bit anyhow.  That should help with my step goal.

Another goal I have been keeping is my squat challenge.  Today was 160 squats.  Tomorrow is the rest day.  I had been planning on resting my body on the squat rest days.  SO, I am not sure I will be on this bike tomorrow or back on it Monday.

Thanks for all the support!

Back on the bike

The previous two days I skipped my stationary bike.  Friday I felt horrible and my legs and body were hurting.  I think I was progressing too far in my workout.  Saturday I had intended to be my full body Day of Rest.  Today I am back on the bike and will be back to the squats (I challenged myself to a 30 day squat challenge).

If I felt bad Friday, mentally I felt awful Saturday.  Uncharacteristically, I got 9 hours of sleep.  When I saw that I was amazed and thrilled.  The rest of me was not.  I was more tired than on days I get a few hours of sleep.  I could not wake up at all. I was in a constant haze. I drank copious amounts of coffee that did not help.  I was in a terrible mood too.  I was depressed, impatient, and very antagonistic.  Those with depression may understand this but when my husband asked me why I was depressed and there was literally no reason that I was depressed but just in that sinking feeling.   However, that answer never seems to be satisfactory.  It is odd I was so down.  I had a denied insurance claim from my surgery since the hospital used some out-of-network providers.  Supposedly that is common, but seeing a “YOU OWE $21,750” EOB a month ago was devastating.  Yesterday, the reprocessed bill was updated on the website and we owe nothing.  That should have put me in a stellar mood.

Well, today I am in a stellar mood on 4.5 hours of sleep.  I am on the bike, blogging, and enjoying the morning. I am super happy that we get to proceed with the new fence that was on hold due to the medical bill above.  Today I know life is good and that those little dips in mood can easily turn around in a day. My body and mind feel rested and ready for this week.

Validation

I will not declare that I will be posting daily into the future.  I have made blanket statements before and as the words leave my lips the blogs stop getting written.  However, today I am posting just to post.  I have no topic in mind, but am keeping with the consistency that while I ride my bike I will write on my blog.

Now is the time I hope for some amazing, random thought to pop into my head.  But, alas, my brain is empty and searching for interesting tidbits.  A couple of friends and I went to a psychic fair together yesterday.  One would think that could garner a full discussion.  However, what I was told in my tarot reading was everything I currently know to be true.  There were no insights, just validation.

Perhaps my validation is garnering new strength and confidence.  Today, I reached out to my supervisors for projects.  I usually review databases until they reach out to me for projects.  I know I am organized, intelligent, altruistic, and, at times, witty.  However, I do not lead life in a confident stride.  I wallow behind in an uncertain gait.  I am hoping hearing words of validation and speaking my own words of validation to myself will, perhaps, provide more strength, confidence, and new possibilities for myself and my family in the future.

Surgery Files: My recovery at home

I was discharged on July 15th after two nights in the hospital.  (That tells you what a big surgery it is since they love to release you right after the recovery room!)  I remember very little of that day except that I stayed in bed the first 24 hours at home, in the dark, without the tv on, or reading books, or looking at my phone.  I could not handle any light.  When I wasn’t sleeping, I was crying over my horrible decision to have had this surgery.  For me the worst part was my throat – I could not swallow ANYTHING.  Everything hurt so much.  I had anxiety over taking medicine and staying hydrated. Drinking water hurt so terribly and I choked continually trying to eat or drink anything.  I started taking pills with applesauce which seemed to be the only substance I could “easily” intake.

On July 16th, I made it downstairs and took my first post-operative shower on my shower chair.  The whole ordeal exhausted me and put me in an utterly foul mood.  I was not very optimistic at this point.  Thankfully, Rob called my neurosurgeon’s office regarding my choking.  They prescribed prednisone and by the end of that pack, I was doing much better.  I was still choking on water but to a lesser degree.

By July 18th, I was turning a corner and not just sitting/lying in bed or sitting in the recliner.  I started walking around the house more.  On the 19th, I took my second shower and it, again, exhausted me.  I think I was overdoing the walking and started feeling not-so-great again on the 20th.

The days and weeks since surgery have had many ups and downs.  Today I am feeling pretty good, but yesterday was a really terrible day where I did not/could not leave the house.  I had to use the shower chair to get dressed after my bath.

Here’s hoping for continued good days and fewer of those bad days!

 

Breathe

Sometimes I get so busy or so involved with my son that I have to remind myself to actually take a breath.  I will need to stop what I am doing and take a conscious breath.  Do others actually need to do this as well?  I’m not talking about a mindfulness or meditation deep breath, but a literal simple breath.  It’s as if I have been holding my breath through the tasks and now need to breathe.

It has been happening more frequently.  Since it is near the end of the school year, there is a lot on my mind, lots of schedules to coordinate.  Add to that our upcoming vacation, my upcoming surgery and my mom’s chronic pain, I think my thinking makes me forget to breathe! It sounds so silly but by the time I take that breath, I really need it.

How many other things am I forgetting to do if I cannot remember to breathe?

New Rx

Today I woke in much better spirits.  I had  steady stream of tasks this morning during work.  That made the day move faster.  Secondly, I had an appointment with my psychiatrist.  I told her I had difficulty during the previous weekend as well as yesterday.  Weekends are always difficult for me.  I do better on the Monday – Friday schedule of life.  Due to my depressive waves and anxiety, she increased my Lexapro and is adding Wellbutrin.  She is hoping Wellbutrin will also help with my constant fatigue.  Fingers crossed.

Double-crushed

Previously I have written about how I was diagnosed with Double Crush Syndrome from the orthopedic surgeon who performed my ulnar nerve transposition surgery.  For those not aware, it means my nerves are compressed in more than one place.  I had severe compression on my left elbow but also have spinal cord compression which will be remedied (hopefully) with my ACDF surgery in July.  One of the key components is the inability to tell from which compression the pain (or numbness/tingling/weakness/other issues) is stemming from in the body.

Today, I have been having a lot of pain in my left arm.  I am thinking it is from my surgery.  The surgeon said it takes about a year to heal from the surgery.  I am 8/9 months post-op.  The nerves regenerate and fire off signals. I am not sure if I have been leaning on the place my nerve was moved to in my sleeping and/or waking/working hours.  All I know is this pain today is really annoying.  I tried some Aleve but it’s not alleviating that pain or the headache I have had today.  Unfortunately, with upcoming surgery and vacation, I have no additional time I can take off to rest.  For these type of issues, sedentary work may actually be the most painful!

I feel cruddy and totally anti-social.  I wish I could remain “hidden” all day.  But, alas, my son’s school has an art show I assured him I would attend.  Maybe it will lift my spirits.  He always has a tendency to make me feel happy/silly, even if just for a fleeting moment.  In the between time of work and art show, I am hoping to rest in bed by myself for a bit.  I am sure co-sleeping may be another culprit in my painful day(s)!

Anyhow, as you can plainly see, today is also a major complaining day. Hopefully, tomorrow I will be in a less whiny place.  And, perhaps, pigs will fly!

To write or not to write…

I have a little down time before we head to Roger’s afternoon activities.  I had to sign onto my laptop to pay a bill and figure I should blog.  I get reminders from Facebook that my Spinning Wheels page has not had a post in quite some time.  However, what is there to write about when everything seems to be at the same place it was the last time you wrote?

I am still trying to get everything in order for our trip to Denver and my surgery.  I am still trying to not fall down the depression/anxiety hole by meeting with my psychiatrist every couple of weeks.  I am still trying to make it through work and life everyday and be somewhat positive.  I am still letting little things interfere with my mood and perseverate about them.  I am still watching documentaries on Netflix (after finishing Love).  I am still functioning better during the week since life has less routine on the weekends.  That makes me concerned with summer that begins in 3 short weeks!

Now it’s your choice:  to read or not to read…

Hump Day

Every day, lately, has felt like “hump” day.  Every day I start with my usual tasks and by about 9:30 am usually exhausted and ready for the end of the day.  Today, at Texas’ version of the DMV, I was waiting at the window not a particularly long time and just felt my overwhelming exhaustion.  I felt like placing my head on the ledge and closing my eyes.  Multiple times, lately, I have had to put my head down on my desk for a few minutes to make it through each work day.  I am even putting my head down on the kitchen table, sometimes the kitchen counter, sometimes on the crossed arms on my lap.

Besides the exhaustion, I have been much more aware of my arm and leg pain.  It’s become a nuisance.  It’s not interfering much with my daily routine, but just a reminder.  I told Rob that over the next ten weeks I was going to cut back on chores/tasks that seem to increase pain.  I want to be well enough for vacation and to enjoy my pre-op summer time with Rob and Roger.

New Hobbies

I am still very low energy and short on patience.  However, I figured I should write a short post now that I am done with the day’s work and Rob is out with Roger.

Recently, I pulled out a puzzle Roger won and decided to build it by myself, since no one else was interested.  What I did not expect is that Rob would be sucked in to the puzzle building as well.  We are currently on our third puzzle.  Rob calls it a time suck, but I find it enjoyable (albeit sometimes frustrating!).

My next new “hobby” is a bit macabre.  While watching the show, “It Was Him” on the Paramount Network, I realized how much I enjoy true crime shows, movies, and documentaries.  I always watch Law and Order: SVU but always find documentaries more fascinating.  On Audible I downloaded and listened to Inside the Mind of BTK.  It was interesting but the narrator was horrible and horribly mispronounced so many common words and names.  I just started listening to Killer Clown (about John Wayne Gacy).  So far I can tell you the narrator is much more knowledgeable about speaking correctly and has a “detective-like” voice.  I am liking this one much more.  I have also downloaded fiction crime stories as well.

It is nice having these distractions lately!

Up and So Far Down

The past two weeks have been a trying time for me.  I went to a new psychiatrist and started a new medicine.  It worked well and I had a follow-up appointment two week’s later.  Since all was good with my mood (but still having some OCD and anxiety) we decided to not increase medication dosage and “wait and see” for two more weeks.

I was in much better spirits, actually enjoying myself, not feeling as angry and not lashing out as easily.  My motivation was coming back and I wanted to focus on eating healthier, exercising more, adding in meditation, and doing a really good housecleaning.

Although my exercise was only about 20 minutes a day, that (with the repetitive motions of cleaning), irritated my cervical spine issues.  That’s putting it nicely – the cleaning and exercising caused significant pain.  I had to sleep with a travel pillow.  By Friday, my back was in such bad shape that I could hardly move.  To say it put me in an awful mood, again, is putting it nicely.  I have been severely depressed since the pain began.  Will I be able to function normally post-surgery?  Dusting the house exacerbates my issues, I recall from an earlier cleaning attempt.  Taking a scenic walk in our area caused my upper back to be in such severe pain, I had to take my muscle relaxers along with the icing and heating.

This weekend I have been in bad spirits.  I feel like I’m back in that place I was prior to seeing the psychiatrist.  I just want to be in bed.  I feel anti-social, unhappy, in pain, exhausted, easily irritated and overly anxious.

Will I survive a summer vacation to Colorado?  Roger is way too excited to cancel it.  Am I putting off surgery too long?  Will I be able to handle Roger’s birthday party post-surgery? Will I gain another 30 pounds being unable to do simple tasks around the house?  I keep going on and on and getting lost in my own thoughts.  I am hoping typing this out will get these thoughts “out there” and I will stop perseverating.

Is 6:30 too early for bed?!

 

One week later

This week has been mentally exhausting for me. I had my second neurosurgeon opinion on Tuesday (3rd opinion overall, including last year’s orthopedic surgeon opinion).  All surgeons agree that I should have surgery.  Two told me the time frame was up to me while one told me I needed to have it in 2-3 weeks (all were looking at the same MRIs, x-rays, reports).  I had read that for cervical surgery one should have a neurosurgeon instead of an orthopedic surgeon.  That narrowed my decision to two.

After consulting with my husband, asking on a few ACDF Facebook groups, texting/messaging nurse friends, and writing a pro & con list, I made my decision by Wednesday morning.  It was an incredibly difficult decision filled with much anxiety and sleeplessness.  I didn’t have a “gut feeling” about one doctor as I had with the ulnar nerve surgery.  Each surgeon had polar post-surgery protocols.  That made my decision much more confusing.  I was not only choosing a surgeon but choosing which recovery I thought would be best for me.  One said I would be in a collar for 3 months 24/7, the other said I would be in a collar for two weeks when I was up and about (not while sleeping/sitting).  Thankfully I am OCD, so researching is second nature!

This week I also began seeing a new psychologist. I am trying “telehealth” which is basically skyping with a therapist.  My new insurance uses Amwell, so I thought that with my time constraints it would be an easy solution.  It was the perfect timing with surgery happening in less than four months from now.

The psychologist was a good fit.  She understood having a special needs kid, my stress level and, overall, current situation.  I feel like it was almost kismet that I made the decision on which therapist to use.  The past few weeks it has been suggested to me (by independent sources) that I should use Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction.  The psychologist also made this referral.  She told me a couple of websites to consult, one being a link to a free MBSR online course. I read the Introduction/Getting Started sections and will, formally, take the plunge this upcoming week.  It is an eight week course which requires 30 minutes of practice time per day.  That will be difficult but I really want to make this commitment to myself.  (If anyone is interested, the website is palousemindfulness.com)

 

What a Pain!

Today I have the best of intentions to clean the remainder of the house while my son is out with daddy this late afternoon. In anticipation, I have been doing a little bit of dusting here and there. Oh my, my back/neck/arms hurt! I am doing NOTHING intense, just walking and mildly dusting.

My thoughts as I continued to dust: do I even need another neurosurgeon appointment?! (I do just in regards for timeframe surgery may be necessary). A few days ago I read through blog posts from July describing my neck/arm/head pain and remembered how physical therapy made it more unbearable. I guess the months that the pain diminishes or lessens in degree, I forget about the painful months. I don’t have many readers to my blog but this journal really helps me in keeping a log of pain (physical and emotional).

Last night, I looked over at my son beside me in bed. It caused he most excruciating pain. I must turn my body when I am upright and looking side to side. It brought tears to my eyes realizing surgery may be closer than I hoped.

End of week

It is the Friday of spring break.  Unfortunately, it was not quite a break for us.  My husband and I had work and my son was in camp all week.  Luckily, he was so excited for camp each day and said he had a best friend at camp.  Last night, we went to Main Event and played video games and Roger got to play laser tag with a friend from his school.  Today, after camp, my husband is taking him to the park and then we will all go to my parent’s place for dinner (bringing over Chinese food).  Roger is probably a bit disappointed I did not go to the park, but I woke up with horrible allergies.  It’s that time of year when I start having days that feel flu-like but know it is just what happens when the weather is nice.  I get to only explore the great outdoors on hundred degree days that are allergy-free.  This is truly not fair!

I have decided to have another appointment with the neurosurgeon I met with last year prior to my ulnar nerve surgery (who recommended traction).  I have an appointment with him two days before my follow-up with the new neurosurgeon.  As you can see, I am really wanting avoid surgery!

I have not received a call from the imaging place yet re: x-rays.  I called them yesterday and they did not get the order yet.  They said they will call me.  So, this afternoon I emailed the neurosurgeon office via the patient portal and will follow up with both over the phone on Monday early afternoon, if I hear nothing.

Now that a couple of days have passed, I feel like the idea of surgery is a long-past memory.  I am cheerful, despite allergies.  I am loving my new office arrangement and ordered a new, larger turquoise rug (to compliment the orange walls), so I can stretch during breaks.

Tomorrow hopefully my allergies can subside so we can enjoy a day outside in the gorgeous weather.  There is a St. Paddy’s Day Texas Style festival in Lewisville I would like to check out.  I have also heard the Dallas Arboretum is beautiful.  Hope you all have a fabulous weekend!

Neurosurgeon

First off, let me say that I have been dealing with this back pain for over a decade.  I was working in NYC when I started treatment on my back.  I have been in and out of physical therapy, had a few epidurals, and many x-rays and MRIs over the years.  The pain in my back specifically and has been pretty constant since 2014 and my limited range of motion since 2007.

Since being in TX, I was referred to one orthopedic doctor who said I had three options:  1. Physical Therapy 2. Epidurals 3.  Surgery.  He said it was up to me.  I went the PT route and never returned to him, since he offered no advice.  Then, I went to a different orthopedic surgeon who set me up with a pain doctor for epidurals, since PT was not helpful.  Last year this orthopedic surgeon said I needed ACDF surgery.  I was hesitant because he suggested the same to a friend who was told her disc issues were very minor by another doctor.  So, I met with a different neurosurgeon at the time that recommended traction over surgery, since, at the time, my arm and hand pain were the biggest issues.  Also, my PCP at that time suggested I get an EMG to see if my arm pain stemmed elsewhere before committing to ACDF surgery.  That is when it was discovered that I had severe compression of my ulnar nerve at my elbow.  I had ulnar nerve transposition surgery last August and “forgot” about my back.

Currently, the past couple of months, arm pain has returned, along with the ever-present neck pain, headaches, shoulder pain and mid-back pain (all due to my C5-C7 discs).  I went back to the surgeon who performed my arm surgery.  She said that what I described was most likely due to the my neck issues.  I went back to the pain doctor, set up two epidurals and a referral to a neurosurgeon who she highly recommended and was conservative in his approach.

The new neurosurgeon was very straight forward.  He said, at this point, physical therapy or epidurals will not help.  They may help some of the symptoms but will not make the underlying issue better.  He tested my reflexes and did some sort of flicker test on my fingers. My middle finger on my left hand twitched.  He said this was definitely indicated that surgery is necessary. He recommends ACDF surgery on 2 levels (as the orthopedic doctor suggested).  He said the level above is having some slippage but, since he is conservative, would not work on that level unless the new x-rays he ordered show more slippage from the x-rays of 2015.  He said surgery was not urgent but needed to be done.  Our perception (my husband and I) thought that meant that we would discuss in a year, maybe five.  Thankfully my husband asked for a specific time frame.  The neurosurgeon said 2-3 weeks.  Um, we would define that as an “urgent” time frame.  He retorted that in the medical field “urgent” meant surgery needed to be done within a 48 hour time frame.

I have a follow-up appointment in two weeks where the new x-rays will be discussed, as well as the plan for surgery.  I did tell him I could not have surgery so quickly.  I have a colonoscopy in May and we have been planning  a very nice summer vacation for the end of June.  I will be in a neck brace for 3 months post-surgery. I cannot drive in a neck brace and we are driving to Denver.  He did not like me waiting so long — but I’ve been waiting for a year with all the last minute attempts at another round of physical therapy, epidurals, and ulnar nerve transposition surgery.  He said to avoid anything jarring: running, jarring exercises, riding a horse, being on a boat, and not to fall when on the mountains!

I guess I need to get back in touch with HR tomorrow and find out what short-term disability I can get since I had surgery not so long ago…What a fun Wednesday!

Tuesday, Tuesday

Well, today started out very stressful.  I had a half dozen phone calls with my boss prior to 9:30 am.  I was in a constant stream of work until noon.  I got up at 10 to the hour each hour when my Fitbit told me I took zero of my 250 steps each hour.  After my lunch break, things settled down to a more manageable pace until the end of the work day.  Today, Rob picked Roger up from camp and I got to take a long, extremely hot shower.  I love showers that my skin is pink/red for a good 20 minutes afterwards.

Today we met a reading comprehension tutor at the Lewisville Library.  It is hard to discuss the needs of tutoring when your son is at grade level.  However, as many kids in his class started the year at lower levels than him, they have progressed to his level 6 months later.  Roger is still at the same level he started the school year at.  He is a great reader but I think his downfall may not be comprehension but attention.  His long-term sub thinks it is lack of interest v. comprehension.  How can you teach a kid to be interested, pay attention and focus on books that have zero interest to him?  The only books he is interested in are biographies.

Of course, he aced the tutoring session and she said she would reach out to interventionists in elementary school for suggestions.  She is a dyslexic interventionist in middle school.  She gave me pointers but I told her that he will do these things for me.  He is a people-pleaser for everyone except me and my husband.  At home he fights about doing any homework.  I could never homeschool.  This child would be determined not to learn anything from me.

After his session, we went to the biography section of the children’s library and Roger chose books on Michael Jackson, Bruno Mars, Prince, Louis Armstrong, John Cena, The Rock, and Chuck Close.  The Chuck Close book was one I showed him — truly an amazing artist and a fantastic children’s book.   We also got Roger his own library card and he checked out his own books.  He was thrilled.

Afterwards we had a nice dinner at Red Robin.  That restaurant is never my choice but I know Roger really loves it and he’s been such an awesome boy lately.  I had a nice libation there and two godiva chocolates at home.  That made my mood better.  However, I do not want alcohol or food to be my stress reliever…Although relaxed, I decided to jump on the stationary bike and blog while riding.  Not as yummy, but enjoyable too!

Big Ball of Stress

Achieving balance is what most people are striving for  – or at least I am.  However, at this time in my life, I view everything as stressful.  Work is stressful, cleaning is stressful, trying to find time to exercise is stressful, eating healthy is stressful, getting Roger ready for school/camp/bed/classes/therapy is stressful, playing with Roger is stressful, trying to fall asleep at night is stressful.  BUT doing nothing is the most stressful of all for I think of everything I should be doing.

I think I have forgotten how to relax.  What is the first step?  How do you train yourself to relax?  It really pisses me off when I see others relaxing while I am stressing out.

I also think I have forgotten how to have fun.  It takes a lot to make me smile or genuinely enjoy myself.  It wasn’t until The Dead Milkmen were actually onstage playing that I enjoyed that night.

I genuinely feel bad for my son and my husband.  I want to have fun.  I want to let go.  Will a brain swap work?

Any tips or advice appreciated (just comment).

Post-anesthesia Blues

This week has been mentally, physically, and, mainly, emotionally hard.

Prior to my epidural, I had a change in my workspace.  Instead of working on my personal laptop, that I could move from an exercise work station to different areas of the house, I am now confined to an upstairs workstation.  The set up is quite impressive with large dual-monitors provided from my job.  I am thankful but this has been a learning curve for me.  I had to learn some new programs, spent the majority of Tuesday on the phone with the help desk, and am still not equipped with everything needed.

Wednesday was my “oh-not-so-fun” epidural experience that you can read about in an earlier blog.  They days following have been tough work days.  I was physically exhausted but thought I did not need to take off extra time.  Boy, was I wrong.  I lumbered through them physically but was hit mostly emotionally.

Since Wednesday’s epidural reprimand, I have been in and out of streams of tears.  I have not cried this much in so long.  I have read theories over why anesthesia could make someone cry.  I am wondering if the stress of the past year is finally releasing itself with the help of the anesthesia.  If so, when will the tears finally end?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday – Tax Day

I designated Sunday as the day I would sit down and do our taxes.  What a wonderful way to spend a Sunday, eh?  What could possibly go wrong or turn your mood sour?

This was the first year of doing taxes that I had to figure out how to account for Rob’s second career, self-employment. I had quite a learning curve.  I must’ve done terrible miscalculations at the beginning of the day because the amount we owed was obscene.  I decided to put it aside and clean.

EVERYTHING that was out of place pissed me off ten-fold.  Clearly the tax situation tainted my mood.  The cat peed on my son’s bed, again.  I broke one of my favorite mugs.  We had a flat tire.  NOT A GOOD DAY!

By the time Rob came home with Roger, I was a bit more relaxed.  We “played” a fact card game, did Roger’s exercises for OT, practiced his singing for School of Rock, did FastMath, dinner, and I attempted taxes again.  This time I found some errors and our owed money was more palatable.

In contrast, I am really enjoying this quiet Monday at work!

Busy, busy day

So, as life would have it, I slept terribly last night.  I knew today was jam-packed and I am sure that this is what affected my sleep.  I kept telling myself I needed a good night’s rest to make it through today but I ended up restless.

Beside the daily grind of getting Roger ready for school and walking him to school, working at my job, and picking him up for school, the following is scheduled:

  1.  Pain doctor appointment – my lower back stinks today from not getting rest last night (BOO)
  2. After work, a dental cleaning – I had to reschedule since I had bad allergy attacks the day of my last scheduled cleaning
  3. Open house at Roger’s school (as well as In-N-Out Burger dinner there)
  4. The Dead Milkmen concert in Dallas – now this should be so much fun.  The last time I saw them I was in high school.  I believe it was 29 years ago (GULP) but it will be a late, late night for me.

Barring the doctor’s appointments, it should be a fun day.  Roger is excited for Open House and Rob is excited for the Dead Milkmen.  I am excited for sleep tonight!

Ending February

Wow, one-sixth of 2018 is complete.  Today, I have a slower work pace, as the project responses have slowed down and I can concentrate on different aspects of my work as well.  It has also given me a chance to get up and move around more, which is needed on the day after the “dusting incident”.  I was able to clean the kitchen, to the best of my ability.  This helps since this is where I am currently situated on a stiff chair.

In addition, I was able to break free and have an actual hour break at coffee with my lady friends.  It was a nice change of pace.  Unfortunately, we mainly talk about our kids, instead of ourselves.  I guess that happens when you become a parent — your identity as an individual diminishes into that of a parent.

Now I am experiencing the downside of a slow-paced work day:  exhaustion.  When everything is busy, you don’t notice.  Right now, I am fighting to keep my eyes open.

Gotta get up and move around.  See you in March!

Happy Friday!

Today has been a good day.  That is, mainly, thanks to a great first session with a new therapist in Denton.  I knew checking her FB and seeing her being a fan of Dawkin’s “The God Delusion” was a good indicator.

One of the issues with therapy is usually when you find you have nothing to talk about.  Today, we gabbed and I could’ve talked more.  One of our topics of discussion was the prevalence of religion and high-maintenance individuals in the surrounding areas.  She understood why, once going to the neighborhood school, my stress-level and anxiety went up.  She said she was told to try a Brownie troop for her daughter and it had many girls in my neighborhood (this was about 5 years ago).  She said the girls and the parents were very entitled and, downright, rude to her and her daughter, especially since they were not religious.  This makes me want to rebel in the opposite direction and show my opposition to the hypocrisy of most religious zealots.  However, that is not my main focus, but it could be a fun side-project.

I am looking forward to my next visit in 10 days.  I woke up excited to try a new therapist and left looking forward to going back.  One cannot ask for more!

Freezing

Today is not the coldest day we have had this winter.  However, for some reason, I cannot get the chill out of my bones.  I have to take Roger to a swimming lesson later and all I dream of is taking a hot bath and going under the covers!  I am done accomplishing anything today, except for body heat generation.

I had a nice teacher meeting with the long-term substitute (who is a retired teacher).  She told me how fantastic Roger is, how intelligent, and thoughtful he is.  It was great to hear.  She has no concerns about him.  Who knew he would be so well-adjusted when we started this autism journey?  Sure, we still have our daily shoe torture, but the pluses outweigh the minuses by far!  I am so proud of him.  At 7, he has worked harder than most adults I know.  He has his school therapies, his private therapies, and his other lessons.  He is definitely not a quitter and full of love.  I think we have produced a far better person than either Rob or I am singularly — that is the goal of reproduction, eh?

Funny, spending those few minutes reflecting on Roger helped me deflect my fixating on how cold I am.  I no longer feel so cold.  I am sure I will have a different mindset once I return from my walk to pick Roger up from school and back!

Last week and new beginnings this week

Last week was a really tough week.  My mood was incredibly low, as was my patience.  There were many stressors in regards to deliveries, appointments, and feedback (or lack thereof) in regards to Roger’s academic progress.  My week was filled with many thoughts all over the place and total lack of focus.

Today I have decided to try and get back into the swing of things.  This is a theme of my life:  out-of-whack week followed by an in-focus week (or attempt to that).  So, today I have focused on work, exercise, my weekly schedule (and Roger’s), and some laundry and garbage chores.

Today, I had a podiatrist appointment (I need orthotics due to some feet issues).  He politely stressed that I need to be healthier.  I couldn’t agree more.  I am hoping my motivation can remain.  It comes and goes so quickly!

I have a new therapist appointment on Friday of this week.  She is a “psychotherapist”.  I am not sure how different that is from the counseling I have received in the past.  I hope this time I “click” with the therapist.  I always do some on-line research when I make appointments.  On FB, I saw that she “liked” the God Delusion, so that is a positive to me!

Friday, YAY!

Today was another good day. I was able to pace myself at work and to do some clean-up around the house. I was even able to get an errand done, a nice cup of coffee, and get a little break while icing my back and writing my blog. I have about 30 more minutes of free time to enjoy prior to mommy mode.

Roger is really excited for this evening’s plan. We are going to see 3 School of Rock bands perform in Lewisville: the first is Abbey Road (obviously Beatles’ songs) starting at 5 pm, followed by One Hit Wonders, and, lastly, Punk. There is another band after but figured we would stay until 9. It should be really fun and get Roger excited for his vocal lessons that begin in February!